Week 5 Reflection Post

The lectures from this week made a great point of pointing out the inherent connection between culture, race, and racism. As our concept of race developed, groups of people were assigned inheritable, inescapable traits and features. As such, cultural differences began to develop around these differences. Not all of this is bad, as culture is able to give us a place of belonging and pride in who we are, be it white, black, Hispanic, etc. The lectures this week also helped me to better answer a question that has nagged at me since I read it. In Tim Wise’s book, “White Like Me,” (A great read for everyone, especially those who struggle to see white privilege and it’s effects), Wise asks the reader to define white culture. It was difficult, as Wise immediately pointed out. After watching this weeks lectures, the reason why that question was so difficult became perfectly clear. White, has come to mean normal, as in the standard everyone holds themselves to. It is not that white culture does not exist, but it has taken on a whole new meaning.

This brings me to the arguments by several television personalities about the concept of color blindness in terms of race. Like we learned last week in saying America is ‘post-racial,’ saying that one is color blind does not absolve one of racism, but rather promotes the racism inherent in our society. I see the sentiment in O’Reilly’s and Richard’s statements that they do not see color or race as one of regret for how race has become a dominant tool of oppression today. They see the differences between races and think that a change on the conceptual level will magically fix everything. But instead of reducing racism as is their intent, the idea of color blindness marginalizes everyone who is not white, because the concept of whiteness has now become synonymous with the concept of normalcy . The structure of our society can change, however this is a slow process that will take longer than our generation will be around. To me the answer here is to acknowledge our differences; culturally, racially, and celebrate them. Make difference a point of beauty rather than a point of disgust.

One thought on “Week 5 Reflection Post

  1. I had a very head on collision with ‘whiteness as normalcy’ this week. I spent it in Quebec City and as I observed people and their clothes and behavior I found myself making the same observations and critiques I always do when I go to Canada. But then I realized, thanks to this class, that I had always been making assumptions about Canadians culturally because they are predominantly Anglo, most of them speak English, a liberal-democracy and live right ‘next door’. They are the same as Americans! So why are they different? Because I normalize white “Americans” to be of one, big, homogenous culture when in reality borders are pretty powerful ways of separating people. And by the way, there isn’t one ‘white culture’, but two; and I am guessing, a lot more than that if I asked my friends from down south.

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